Individual applications to Constitutional Court and Ombudsman major steps: Justice minister
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Sadullah Ergin speaks during a late session on the 2014 budget of the Justice Ministry at the Parliament’s General Assembly in Ankara Dec. 13. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZThe introduction of individual applications to the Constitutional Court and the Chief Ombudsman office last year as alternative judicial paths have considerably improved the human rights standards in Turkey, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said late Dec. 13.
“We are determined to clear away all complaints related to human right violations in our country … Fortunately important developments have occurred on this issue. In our opinion, problems should be solved by alternative ways inside our country without the need of international institutions,” Ergin said during a late session on the 2014 budget of the Justice Ministry at the Parliament’s General Assembly in Ankara.
“The right of individual applications to the Constitutional Court and the [Ombudsman], both introduced through the constitutional change of Sept. 12, 2010, becoming operational has strengthened our standards on the matter of protecting human rights,” Ergin said.
He also added that there had been a notable decrease in applications to the European Court of Human Rights this year. “The number of files on Turkey has decreased from 16,900 to 11,200 and Turkey has receded to the fifth country with most trial against it, from its previous second place. This recession will continue from now on,” Ergin said.
Ergin also assured that Ankara was studying carefully criticism made by the European Union vis-à-vis the judiciary in the latest Progress Report. “We are not claiming that we have finished everything, there are still shortcomings but we are taking important steps to overcome them,” he said.
Ergin, who was presented as the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) candidate for the upcoming local elections in the southern province Hatay, is expected to quit the cabinet in a move that worries many opposition members, particularly the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which recognized his openness to dialogue during the ıongoing Kurdish peace process.
“We often criticized him, but he was a minister with whom we could smoothly establish dialogue. He made significant efforts when troubles occurred during the resolution process, for instance during the hunger strikes,” co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş had said on Ergin.
A Cabinet reshuffle is expected in January, once all candidates for the local elections have been announced.